Pfefferer - The Phenomenon of the green bottle

It is one of the historical wines of Colterenzio, has a successful unrivalled story, and is now the most popular white wine from Alto Adige in Russia: the Pfefferer. What is behind the creation of this wine? what is the secret of its great success?

“Nobody ever thought, that this wine could become such a big success”, remember Franz Sinn and Luis Raifer. Sinn was the winemaker und Raifer was the president and director of Colterenzio winery at that time, when Pfefferer was first produced. It was 1978, when Karl Nicolussi-Leck, at that time member of the board of directors at Colterenzio, had the idea of producing a wine from old vines of the “Pfefferer”-grape in his vineyards near the winery. This was immediately accepted by the board and in 1979 the first few bottles of “Pfefferer” where produced. The wine was named after the Pfefferer grape, a special clone of Gold Muscat. Muscat grapes (Moscato in Italian) is renown as one of the oldest (Italian) varieties and has many clones, meaning variables, or natural mutations. It is not known where the name comes from. In Alto Adige this grape has always been called “Pfefferer”, probably because of its spicy-aromatic bouquet, which reminds of “Pepper” (in german Pfeffer) and translats into “Peppery”. The 1893 iconic Tyrolean historical viticulture-book, “The Viticulture and Wines of the German Tyrol”, by Babo & Mach,  reports some interesting notes about the importance of this grape: “Much better than Yellow Muscat is  (…) the Italian Muscat, also called white-yellow Muscat, or the one in the area around Bolzano called “Pfeffer-grape”. In the book, the Pfefferer is defined as one of the “most important autochthonous white grape varieties”.


Often copied, never equalled

What makes the Pfefferer so unique? “Its fresh and fruity character”, explains Martin Lemayr, winemaker of Colterenzio. “It has a well-balanced acidity, a light aroma of Nutmeg and a unique spicy note which makes it a “pure-bred horse”, compared to all other Muscat types. It is not obtrusive, a wine with character!“

Another positive aspect is the low alcohol content. Today, the Pfefferer is a very popular wine for aperitif and it is often appreciated paired with fish dishes. “Looking at the sales figures, we can say that today the Pfefferer is one of our most successful wines”, reports Sales Director Alex Ferrigato. “In the last 20 years, it has developed a brand on its own”.  Throughout the years, some wine producers have tried to imitate the Pfefferer, but  each of them failed.

“Most of our aficionados of Pfefferer do not know, that it’s made with 100% Golden Muscat grapes (Moscato giallo)”, explains Ferrigato, and continues: “They drink a lifestyle-wine and love its great drinkability”. The sales figures speak for themselves: it’s the best-sellling wine at Colterenzio.” It is also very interesting to know where Pfefferer is distributed. “The first country is Russia”, says Alex Ferrigato. The majority of the Pfefferer-bottles are drunk in Moscow, St. Petersburg and the other big cities of Russia. But not only: The Pfefferer can also be enjoyed over 8.000 meters, up in the air, because for the past 3 years it has been served in the business class of the biggest Russian airline “Aeroflot”. “I think I don’t exaggerate if I say, that today our Pfefferer is the most well-known white wine from Alto Adige in Russia”. The second most important market for the Pfefferer is definitely Italy: “Italians love aromatic white wines and adore “aperitivo-time”: Pfefferer is the perfect matching in both cases.


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